Phillies, Orioles Make Rule 5 Challenge Trade

In a Rule 5 challenge trade, the Orioles sent righthander Alfredo Simon to the Phillies in exchange for catcher Adam Donachie and cash.

It will be the second tour of duty for Simon with the Phillies who originally signed him as a 17-year-old in 1999 out of the Dominican Republic. He was traded to San Francisco in the summer of 2004 along with outfielder Ricky Ledee for righthanded reliever Felix Rodriguez. After seeing his fastball up to 97 mph this winter in the Dominican, the Orioles decided to take him with the fifth overall pick of the Rule 5 draft. Simon also features a slider, curveball and changeup he can spot for strikes, but they are all fringe-average offerings.

Simon spent the majority of 2006 at Triple-A Fresno where he went 0-6, 6.75 in 62 innings with 35 strikeouts and 19 walks. He signed with the Rangers last month as a six-year free agent but never got a chance to pitch in that organization. His fastball velocity alone should give him a chance to make the Phillies’ 25-man roster.

Donachie was a second-round pick of the Royals in 2002 out of a high school in Orlando and his pro career has been a tumultuous one. In 2004 he suffered a fractured skull while standing in the on-deck circle when teammate Kila Kaaihue hit him in the head with bat. He managed to recover from that to have a breakout season in 2005 at High Desert but was underwhelming in 2006. The 22-year-old split the 2006 season between the Royals’ high Class A High Desert and Double-A Wichita affiliates, batting a combined .247/.352/.382 with 8 home runs and 31 RBIs in 91 games.

Donachie dropped switch-hitting in 2004 to concentrate on hitting from the right side. He is at his best when stays with a gap-to-gap approach and has good extension on his swing. He has a tendency to always want to extend his arms, however, and he will get around the ball while opening up too soon. Defensively, Donachie has a lightning-quick exchange with a strong, accurate arm and threw out 45 percent of basestealers this season. He can get a little lazy with his receiving.

Despite a mediocre season, the Phillies thought enough of him to select him with the 19th pick of the Rule 5 draft. He will now head to the Orioles and with Ramon Hernandez playing almost exclusively, it’s possible he could stick on the 25-man roster because of his strong catch-and-throw skills.

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